Chris Bertenshaw is a librarian in Derbyshire and the CKG Judge for East Midlands YLG.
It’s a tremendous honour to be selected by my regional committee as our Carnegie & Kate Greenaway judge for this year and next. I knew when I joined the committee that there was a chance I would get to fulfil the role at some point in my career, and I was over the moon when I found out that it really would be my turn this time round.
It was shortly after I accepted the role that I learnt my wife was pregnant with our third child, and therefore I would be embracing the role at exactly the time when one’s usual sleep total for a week can fall dangerously close to single figures, but being someone who has never needed much sleep (or at least has got used to not having much sleep with two children under the age of 6) I was confident that I could simply combine not-sleeping-because-of-baby with not-sleeping-because-of-reading and find a nice equilibrium that meant both my child and my books felt equally loved.
Enter the wonderful joy of baby-wearing! Armed with a variety of slings, carriers, and wraps, I spent nearly every evening and weekend for three to four months with my youngest snuggled closely to my chest, working feverishly away at a slowly diminishing pile of wonderful stories. Everyone has their own special place that they feel most comfortable reading, whether it’s lying in bed, stretched out on the sofa, or up a steep hill with a glorious 360 degree panoramic view (the Peak District is wonderful for this!), but for me it was the times spent bonding with my little one snuggled on my chest that allowed me to get lost in the plot of one of the books that were the most special of all.
He’ll be an awful lot bigger when the time comes around for my second year, but I’ll still love the times when he’s wrapped up close to me as I pace the house late at night trying to finish another story before the dawn chorus begins. Hopefully he’ll make his way through all the nominated titles for the Kate Greenaway Medal too, like his older brothers before him!